Long-term care residents and their families are getting more say in their care and the care of their loved ones.
In November of last year, the BC government took the positive step of implementing new regulations that strengthen the position of Family Councils in long-term care (LTC) homes. This comes after years of advocacy by LTC residents and their families.
Family Councils now play a key role in LTC homes by giving residents’ families and representatives a collective voice in decisions that affect them and their loved ones in care at the local level (facility operator), at the regional level (health authority), and at the provincial level (Ministry of Health). However, for too many years some independent Family Councils were marginalized or ignored by LTC operators. Without any regulations to hold them accountable, LTC operators were free to choose how they interacted with, controlled, or ignored their Family Councils.
The new regulations ensure that LTC operators must give residents and their family members input into decision-making, listen to their concerns, not interfere with residents attending Family Council meetings, and meet with Family Councils more frequently. In addition, LTC operators must provide administrative support for Family Councils to meet, respond in writing to any concerns brought up by the council, and share information between the council, Health Authority, and families.
More importantly, the regulations will allow family councils to bring licensing complaints against LTC operators should they be in non-compliance of the new council regulations.
While these licensing complaints are a positive step, more needs to be done to deter LTC operators who are in non-compliance with regulations. Right now, there is no direct financial penalty for LTC operators that do not comply with these new regulations. Financial penalties would be a more significant way to hold LTC operators accountable.
This will require the health authorities and Ministry of Health to continue working with independent LTC regional Family Councils as well as the provincial association of Family Councils.
For more information, reach out to the Independent Long-Term Care Councils Association of BC (ILTCCABC) at [email protected].
About the ILTCCABC
ILTCCABC is a Provincial Association of Family Councils representing the important collective voice of residents, their families, and residents’ representatives. The ILTCCABC is an important stakeholder in the LTC sector and a valuable resource for the development of Family Councils in Long-Term Care. ILTCCABC has its member Regional Associations of Family Councils operating in every health authority across BC. Most are in their infancy as they were formed in 2021. These regional associations invite family councils operating in LTC homes to become members of its association to enable them to network with other family councils within the same region. Contact the regional associations using the contact information below.
Regional Associations of Family Councils
- Fraser Association of Family Councils ([email protected])
- Interior Association of Family Councils ([email protected])
- Northern Association of Family Councils ([email protected])
- Vancouver Coastal Association of Family Councils ([email protected])
- Vancouver Island Association of Family Councils ([email protected])